Edited by Susanne Maria Michaelis
[Creole Language Library 33] 2008
► pp. 169–196
7. Encoding path in Mauritian Creole and Bhojpuri: Problems of language contact
This article explores the question of language contact between Mauritian Creole and the Indo-Aryan language Bhojpuri. Historically, contact between these two languages came about as a result of the massive immigration of Indians to Mauritius, dating from the second half of the 19th century, after the abolition of slavery. This contact situation has lasted up until present times, since Bhojpuri remains, after Mauritian Creole, the most widely used spoken language in Mauritius. Diachronically, there are at least two stages of influence: (i) Bhojpuri had some influence on Creole from the 1830s onwards, and (ii) the two languages continue to interact until today, the result of which is the possibility of even more evident diversification in the diastratic and diatopic architecture of the creole. The more general issue is narrowed down to an analysis of a particular semantic-grammatical category: ablative Path expression. In this article, we defend the hypothesis that the use of depi as an ablative marker is essentially due to Bhojpuri influence. Additionally, certain kinds of uses of depi as an ablative marker function as distinctive markers of the variety of Mauritian Creole spoken by Indians. This study draws on data from recent research carried out in Mauritius, as well as the analysis of a corpus of written texts and spoken discourse, recorded and transcribed by the authors.
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